Why Charitable Giving is Even More Important During an Economic Downturn

The U.S. government has officially announced that we're in a recession, but for those balancing our own budgets, it's not new news.  Even if you haven't been affected yet, you are probably cutting back and setting aside money to weather what may be rough months ahead.

For some, charitable giving might seem like the easiest (and first) expense to eliminate.  But giving is even more important this year, and I believe you should consider increasing your efforts now instead of cutting back. You don't need to be wealthy to make a big difference in the life of someone who lives in poverty.

People on the "edges" are impacted more
People who are already struggling are impacted more by rising costs or the loss of income.  You might feel like you're barely making ends meet, but chances are that if you're reading this, you are not sleeping in the back of a van with your kids (like a family I saw here in Seattle last week), or raising children in a part of the world where clean water and electricity are a distant dream and low-wage work represents your only opportunity to put food on the table. Continue reading...

More about...Budgeting, Giving

How to Track Travel Expenses and Stick to a Vacation Budget

Most families need to stick to a budget when they travel. But tracking daily expenses, especially in a foreign currency, can be tricky. Here are some easy tips to make it easy to keep track of how much you're spending.

Before you leave:

  • Create an email folder for your trip. Each time you make a booking, place the itinerary confirmation and receipt into the folder. You can use the folder to help you build your final itinerary before you leave, too.
  • Set a daily budget that includes lodging, food, transportation, and entertainment. During the trip you can track your spending against this goal.
  • Find out how much it costs to get money, and know which source is the cheapest. For example, what fees does your bank charge for using an international ATM and withdrawing foreign currency? What about your credit card? What is the exchange rate? If you expect to travel a lot, you might consider opening a Capitol One credit card with no international transaction fees.

On your trip:<

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More about...Budgeting, Travel